The Value of a “Bad” Penny

Photo Credit: Debbie Turner, Wilmington, NC

As often as I can, I walk 4 miles through my neighborhood.  It is my time for meditation and daily opportunity to take care of my health.  Generally, this trek is made in the morning with various grades of sunlight peeking through clouds and trees.  Although I might journey the path every day, I often see things that I didn’t see the day before.  Enter the United States one-cent coin, often called a penny, a copper-clad piece of zinc since 1982/1983.  (  Sometimes I find them perfect, beautiful, bright and undamaged, but more often they are sticky, darkly covered in whatever spilled on them in the car console, run–over, scarred, distorted, chinked and mangled, blending into the variations of color in the asphalt upon which they lay.  As the sun is coming up, I might just catch a glimpse of the original metal through a scratch in the damage which draws my attention to the piece.

I have read that finding pennies can signify signs from angels or deceased loved ones that they are watching over us. So, when I am picking one up, I say, “Good Morning!  Thank you for watching over me!”  Additionally, they can signify good luck. Growing up we recited a little phrase when we happened upon this coin on the ground, “Find a penny, pick it up, the rest of the day you’ll have good luck.” Therefore, I also say, “Thank you for showing me that abundance is coming my way!” Heads or tails, either way is good luck as far as I am concerned.

With these beliefs, I pocket the penny to save it.  

Whoa! Brakes!

I… SAVE… the… pennies.

Should I see another significance to my picking up these coins? This is what occurred to me the morning of May 8, 2018. Is there a lesson in my finding them or are they just a blessing?

Digging a little deeper into this, “’A bad penny always turns up’ is a very old proverb that dates back to at least the mid-18th century and is probably much older.   A “bad penny” is a person whose presence is unwelcome on any occasion, but whom fate perversely employs to torment you by making said person appear (“turn up”) repeatedly, often at the worst possible times.” (  I question, “Is there such a thing as a ‘bad penny’?”  I say there is not.  I save, and ultimately spend, the coins because I don’t accept that the surface damage has decreased their actual value.  They can be saved, spent or invested because no matter how damaged they are, they are still worth a monetary value of one cent.  Regarding people who might personify a “bad penny”, I hold too that every person is of value.  Whether they cross my path or not, each person is important to this world.  They are blessings or lessons, whichever their divine purpose.  Their appearance may test me but ultimately their purpose is of value.

I have been told that I attract and give more energy than I should to people who drain me. Do I think that I allow myself to give more time and value to a “bad penny” than it is worth?  Do I spend love, time and energy on something, or rather, someone that isn’t “worth it”? Do I hold onto something/someone past the time they are of any “value” to me?  I don’t believe I do. I don’t have to put any effort into changing the penny or person to increase value, I must only hold faith that the value is as I see it. Sure, I can polish a coin and make it look prettier, but it will make no difference. Dirty or polished, it spends the same way. I see it as a bank employee, store cashier, coin or vending machine sees it. As GOD sees it and the person it might represent, perfection in its divine purpose.

Am I wrong to hold continuing faith of the greatness in someone that on the surface is “not worthy of attention” is not “valuable”? I want people to see the glimpse of light in me beneath my flaws, the shine from my mettle beneath any damage. It cannot be wrong or a waste of time to search for the actual light in others.  In some cases, we are holding this belief for them for they cannot see their ultimate and perfect value because they have allowed themselves to hold instead that the damage on or in their body, in their soul, mind and heart has decreased their value. I have heard the phrase, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time. – Maya Angelou”. How deep are we supposed to dig to understand who someone is showing us they are the first time? My answer, as far deep as it takes. Their value is worth it.

Other’s might walk past these pennies or people daily because they believe they really don’t have that much value anymore or more simply, they are not sought or seen because they are hidden in the fabric of life, easily passed by. “You’ve probably heard that it actually cost more money to make a penny than a penny is worth.”, says Denver Nicks.( He further mentions at the end of the article that, “Although the coin’s abolition has been proposed because it is now worth very little, there are currently no firm plans to eliminate the penny.”  Likewise, I choose not to eliminate but also recognize it is not my responsibility to fix perception of value externally or internally. I can only hold intention, pray for, send good vibes to and ultimately hope and affirm that someone who is not feeling “whole” or “pretty on the outside”, to the world or to themselves, can find the means to transform their thoughts of themselves and possibly their actual selves to God’s perfect and divine value for them. Remember, “God don’t make no junk!” I can also hold and pray that the world around us can transform collective thinking into a divine nature so that actual value is perceived and glorified.

I note also that I am not searching out these valuable entities, be it coin or person, they are being laid in or walked into my path to be discovered and cherished.  They are gifts given freely without expectation of recognition or reward. They are reminders to look within and recognize our own personal validity.  Remember, I am not what others think of me just as you are not as others think of you.  By doing this, we create and keep our power.  Our power is our wisdom, inner strength and courage, of course, but it is also in allowing ourselves to be compassionate, generous and loving. With all of this, we do have to remember that balance is key.  We have to make it important in our lives that in all we give to others, we also must give to ourselves.  The relegating of time to a sacred space or observance of sacred time for ourselves to replenish, reinvest in and reset our valuable selves, preserves our power for giving and nurturing others and recognizing the value in them as we recognize the value in found coins.

Finally, does my energy, emotional stability, physical health and strength of heart have more value than the penny? Yes! Yes, it does… and so does yours! Although the one-cent coin can help support financially, neither the coin, nor another person can heal us spiritually.  If we lose our spiritual health and internal value by continuously depleting our spiritual gifts, and hearts out to other people, we will devalue ourselves.  We must recharge and reinvest in ourselves what has been spent so as to support a healthy spirit, mind, heart and body. This is priceless for each of us.

Many Blessings to You and Yours,


P.S.  The entire time I wrote my first draft, this song came to mind and I believe it’s fitting. There is a YouTube link for you to enjoy Bing Crosby’s version.

Pennies from Heaven

“Pennies from Heaven” was written by Johnny Burke and Arthur Johnston for a 1936 movie by the same name. This was the first of many hit lyrics that Johnny Burke wrote for Bing Crosby. The song, originally performed by Bing Crosby with Jimmy Dorsey and his orchestra, received the movie’s only Academy Award nomination. (

A long time ago
A million years BC
The best things in life
Were absolutely free
But no one appreciated
A sky that was always blue
And no one congratulated
A moon that was always new
So it was planned that they would vanish now and then
And you must pay before you get them back again
That’s what storms were made for
And you shouldn’t be afraid for
Every time it rains it rains
Pennies from heaven
Don’t you know each cloud contains
Pennies from heaven
You’ll find your fortune falling
All over town
Be sure that your umbrella is upside down
Trade them for a package of sunshine and flowers
If you want the things you love
You must have showers
So when you hear it thunder
Don’t run under a tree
There’ll be pennies from heaven for you and me

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